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A Scoping Study on Political Corruption

Topic: Political Corruption University Involved: London School of Economics Students Involved: 5 Year: 2012-2013 Transparency International Chapter: Transparency International Secretariat Public Sector Integrity Programme

Political corruption is a growing cause of social and political concern. Consequently, anticorruption measures are given increased importance in policy formation. This underlines the important role played by Transparency International and other civil society organisations. This study by students from the LSE aimed to scope in detail some of the major theories, definitions and trends surrounding political corruption.

 The report observed that political corruption is not a simple agent-based problem: even though it is determined by the integrity of public officials and the incentives they face, it is also determined by the expectations of the population at large, as well as by wider systemic factors. Where political corruption is pervasive, therefore, it becomes a collective action problem rather than an agent-based problem.

 To address both the agent-based and the collect action problem, the students created a taxonomy of anticorruption strategies into three categories: control, exit and voice.

 Control Strategies aim at improving institutional systems, contributing to the formation of a country’s national integrity system.

Exit Strategies aim at curbing corruption through competition by providing alternatives or substitutes.

Voice Strategies aim at empowering and mobilizing the public through via informing citizens and the press, supporting public dialogues and implementing monitoring mechanisms.


General Recommendations

 Issue Area I: National Integrity Systems (NIS) fail to address the systemic nature of corruption and the dynamics between integrity pillars and actors within a specific society.

Recommendation I: Revise NIS and include an analysis of the dynamics between the different integrity pillars to comprehend power dynamics and thus target corruption in each country better.


Issue Area II: Comprehensive and context-specific assessment and impact evaluation of TI’s tools is lacking.

Recommendation II: Establish self-evaluation systems and knowledge base to evaluate the successes and failures and enable information access and exchange. This aids decision making and strategy formulation.


Issue Area III: Heavy emphasis on control strategies and a proliferation of anti-corruption laws and commissions, which have largely proven ineffective due to a lack of political will and the systemic nature of corruption.

Recommendation III: Emphasis on Voice Strategies. When there is weak political will, TI should especially focus on empowerment, coalition-building and monitoring. When there is limited corruption, TI should support the work of authorities and raise awareness.

Author :

04 Feb 2014

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